Re: All One?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 02 1999 - 14:00:07 EDT

At 1:49 PM -0400 6/2/99, Eric Weiss wrote:
>Gal. 3:28(b) - PANTES (masc. nom. plural) GAR hUMEIS hEIS (masc. nom.
>John 17:21(a) - hINA PANTES (masc. nom. plural) hEN (neuter nom. sing.)
>WSIN ... 17:22(b) - hINA WSIN hEN (neuter nom. sing.) KAQWS hHMEIS hEN
>(neuter nom. sing.)
>IS there a difference in meaning here? I.e., does the use of the neuter
>"one" in John 17 mean something different than the use of the masculine
>"one" - both used in association with PANTES, a masculine form?

(1) I think I would understand hEIS Gal 3:28b as a generic masculine
pronominal numeral in the sense of "a single person." There might
conceivably be another noun implicit, but if there's any at all, my guess
is it would be ANQRWPOS.

(2) In Jn 17:21-2 I'd understand hEN as "a unit," "a single whole thing."

(3) While there may be instances where such phrasing has an authentic
semantic distinction, I personally doubt that there is one here. in Gal
3:28 the group is a corporate person, the body of Christ; in Jn 17:21f. the
neuter seems chosen simply because abstractions tend to be put in the
neuter in Greek as in Latin. Thus the motto on US coins, 'E PLURIBUS UNUM'
("from many one"--originally, they say, taken from a recipe for a salad
dressing!) refers to the corporate unity of the states in the union and
doesn't imply anything about the real gender of the union itself (which
Jefferson Davis evidently conceived as feminine when he said of it/her
(long after the end of the Civil War), ESTO PERPETUA.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:29 EDT